Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for June 2012

Difficult is not better

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Our value and our worth are not determined by how hard we struggle.

In the hospital, there is one particular nurse’s station that always has an inspirational quote written on a white board in happy, bright colors (it is perhaps relevant that this is a neurosurgery unit, and the patients are generally anything but happy and bright). This was the quote a few days ago, and it resonated with me.

I spend a lot of my life welcoming in the difficult/complicated. Long distance relationship? I can do that! Medical school? Sure, why not? Harder classes, fully packed course loads, early mornings? Psh, of course!

I get satisfaction from knowing that I’ve pushed myself, that I’ve gone above and beyond the average person. (Average is something I was raised to see as undesirable, and it bothers me that, based on my standardized testing scores, I’m an “average” US medical student. And yet… someone has to be. And even more people are below average, and still excellent physicians). But my hard work and personal battles don’t actually make me better than other people; I know this, and it’s always good to remind myself. It bothers me when doctors think they’re special because medical school is so hard to get into, and yes residency is tough (watch me complain next year) and the hours are god awful, but it’s not like we have a monopoly on bad working conditions, and at least we’ll eventually be paid pretty well, and we’ll have good job stability (or ability to find new jobs). So in a similar way, I’m nothing special, just because I’m in a long distance relationship and “suffering” through medical school,  or because I enjoy spending part of my vacation cleaning and cooking for my boyfriend instead of kicking back all day while he’s at work.

I’m not going to stop struggling though, because in some ways, I’m lost without it. I’m on a fairly light rotation right now (yay fourth year!); I have all my weekends off and amazing hours, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I need to fill my days with actions, as much as I think I love free time. And I’d much rather fill it with actions done for other people, not myself. (A perhaps related aspect of my personality is that I hate asking for help, but love being asked for help. I love to do things for people but am often uncomfortable having things done for me, unless we’re very close. I’m either really desperate or I really like you if I ask you for a favor. Or both).

My value and worth are not determined by how hard I struggle, but struggling is a part of who I am, and I’m mostly at peace with it, and I’ve learned how not to be dysfunctional about it. Sometimes battles are not worth fighting, and sometimes shortcuts are amazing, so I’m fine buying pre-chopped or crushed ingredients for my cooking, and sometimes I’m fine buying that thing I could totally make myself for much cheaper (especially after I’ve made it once, just to prove I’m capable).

We are all worthy, valuable people, no matter how hard we do or don’t struggle in this lifetime. Some of us might still be terrible people anyway, but that’s for other reasons. =)

Written by Aba

June 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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